Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Void Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

We are extremely busy! In a couple of weeks we have a show supporting Scourn, a well known epic black metal band from Italy, and two more touring Italian bands, so we are rehearsing as much as time allows, plus, never comfortable to repeat ourselves, we are training a new band member and adding new material to the setlist. All a bit close to the mark, but that's how we roll.

But you cant go far without hearing how making music is the smallest part of making music these days (!?!) So we are also chomping hard on the bit that is online promotion. VOID were never able to hold on to the notoriety we generated after the release of Posthuman, or even the second album, and in the age of social media dominance we all but disappeared from view, so we are working flat out now to raise our profile on the internet. That's what you gotta do. If you cant beat em join em.


2.In year you had released a new ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The Unsearchable Riches of Void EP has a very raw organic sound but even though the production is fairly regressive the material still pushes the limits of decent behaviour. Riffwise it is still identifiably void, frantic and attention deficit, but there is a stronger punk influence, grind, crust whatever you want to call it. Not that you would find any actual punk music in there, but our style of playing couldnt help but be influenced by the time Joe Burwood (our drummer) and I were spending playing with London hardcore band Flowers of Flesh and Blood.


3.This was your first release since (correction) 2011, can you tell us a little bit more about what was going on during that time frame?

The music for The Unsearchable Riches of Void was recorded immediately after the release of our second album 'void' in 2011. We were full of fire and writing material in our sleep and aside from our vocalist Ben Lowe taking time out to travel, the band was perfect. Unfortunately he never came back (rest in peace brother) and though our current vocalist Levi LeBlanc was doing an excellent job filling in on live vocals, we lost our way and were unable to finish the recording. When you deal creatively in subjects of madness and loss sometimes reality comes knocking, it becomes too real. During our hiatus we tried to rekindle our flame several times, but personal tragedy held us back, our bassist took a different turn in life and both Joe and I decided to focus on other bands. I was also co-running an underground music studio and spending all my free time recording and mixing bands. Of course eventually Levi, Joe and I found ourselves partying together at said studio, we put our unfinished recording on and suddenly realised what we had been missing. I quit the studio and quit recording bands altogether, built another studio at home and Levi and I began recording the vocals for what would become The Unsearchable Riches of Void.
The fire was back in our blood. We then enlisted Gerardo Serra, the most out there bassist we could find, and got ready to play live again.


4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your newer music?

Madness, loss, dystopia, altered perception of the world, despair, rapture and ecstasy - these have always been the dominant themes in our lyrics. Levi has a unique way of processing the world around him. Listening to him in conversation itself can be a kind of poetry. Sometimes I identify completely with the feeling without any idea of the subject. The lyrics I contributed to the EP were all in reference to the tragic tale of ‘The Wildebeest’, a man-beast junkie living on the fringes of society, a monster desperate for love who accidentally kills a man whilst raiding a pharmacy. He lives near me, under the bridge over the canal. I think about him a lot. Different is a very difficult thing to be.


5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Void'?

A black, empty hole, both inside and out. There is a veil between something and nothing and we stand on the one side staring eternally over to the other, knowing that one day we will cross. For thousands of years established thought has been that once on the other side, we will be able to look back to this one. Ha!

With this EP we also started using the title The Unsearchable Riches of Void, and though this does not constitute an official name change, we did incorporate these words into the logo for this release. They aim at capturing the essence of the process of looking for something meaningful, squashed between the impossibility of finding it in ordinary places, and the sense that the only things that really matter might be unattainable in the first place. In other words, the name of the band captures the dialectics of hope and despair that is so central to the human condition.


6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We wear costumes and masks these days to help break out of our normal personalities and to show the audience we are not afraid to dive beyond the realms of decency, sense and convention. That said, the show I enjoyed most recently was a small local gig with Body Harvest, Skullthrone and Sufferer. We had absolutely no expectations for this show. We just wanted to have fun and since it was Hallowe’en we inverted normal procedure and played in our normal street clothes. Clearly 80% of the crowd had no idea what was going on with our music, but they totally went for it, they invaded the stage and we shared a thrill. Sometimes you catch people at just the right moment, unawares, they are in need of a spasm, an unanticipated involuntary shock.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

We are playing on May 20th supporting Scuorn on the last date of their Parthenope UK tour at Nambucca, in London. We also have some dates in September supporting an established Norwegian act that we will announce soon. We wont be touring to support the cassette EP, but will tour to support the new album we hope to release next year if all goes to plan. We need to get on the radar of the festival promoters, else this dream will never materialise.

8.The last release was released on 'Bad Princess Productions' can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Its not a label. Its my personal production company for all my work in media, film, tv, music... named after my daughter (who appears in the logo) and working out of my home studio. I used to keep all these things separate but that was too confusing, so now its all in one place. We had to self-release the cassette so we did it through that. I even recorded the first batch of tapes in real time, one by one, printing and cutting the inlays. Its a labour of love.


9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback to your newer music by fans of black or extreme metal?

I dont know if we’ve had the honour of gracing the other side of the globe yet but it is early days still. The tape is only now going out to press and yours was the first review to come back, so thanks for that. I have to say the new album material seems to be playing better with extreme metal fans than the tape does. It’s darker, more epic. The material on the tape allowed us to play at a punk festival last year though, to a great reception, and I wouldnt trade that. What black metal band can entertain the punks? Thats good for me because I find boundaries in general limiting and I don’t care if we don’t like other bands on the bill.
Needless to say I hope that when they do hear it they will like it. I want black metal fans to follow the band so that they will hear the new album when it comes out, because that will be something very special, for the band, and maybe even for black metal itself.

10.Are any of the band members currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?

Joe plays drums in Antisect, legendary crust punk pioneers. He and Levi are also rekindling the flames for their shared Death Metal project Cythraul, having enlisted a new drummer recently. He also plays sometimes with London Thrash spasm ‘Noise Complaint’ and both of us recently performed with metal influenced hardcore band ‘Flowers of Flesh and Blood’ supporting The Exploited. Gerardo has a jazz hiphop band called instrumental variables who did some awesome recordings last year, but they now need to find a new drummer since the last one’s visa expired. I was messing about with post-punk band Erege and psyche-rock project Las Astas until recently but now I only have time for VOID. I do wanna get back into remixing again though, like I did in the old days for Red Harvest, Zyklon and Aborym. Our new guitarist Elliot Parkin also plays in a grunge act called You.

11.When can we expect another full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

The new album is written. Hopefully it’ll come out next year. Stylistically all the elements from previous releases are there, the blast beats, the electronic grooves, the orchestral score, the disonant harmonies, the d-beat riffs; but none of these elements dominates over the others on this album. We’ve stopped focusing on the pieces and actually built the puzzle.


12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Void mixes black metal with a wide range of influences that include DHG/Dødheimsgard (Norwegian post black metal), CARCASS (pioneers of grinding hooks), SLEEPY TIME GORILLA MUSEUM (avantegarde rock), MORBID ANGEL (classic death metal), VENETIAN SNARES (breakbeats and electronica). Somewhere between these extremes, lies the heart of Void, with its work spanning almost twenty years.

Since I have started to promote the band again I have become aware of just how many great bands there are now. So many acts have sprung up in the years when I was just listening to my 90s records! Artists like Voices and their sister act Shrines now lead in our field. We are lucky to be working in the same city. I’m really looking forward to the new Voices album. I think they’re gonna turn it on its head, and you know, I’m all about that.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

I make audio descriptions for the visually impaired, also through Bad Princess Productions. We make audio descriptions and black metal bands. Basically I tell the visually impaired person what is happening on screen. Its a great opportunity to really get into the fibre of a film, describing style, mood, colour, emotion. Films really distill the human experience. I’ve done some thrillers, some dramas, some action films; I can’t wait to describe my first horror film. It’s one thing to see it but to put it into words? Otherwise I alternate between coffee and vodka.
Dr. Serra is a researcher of African history, Mr.Burwood is an enthusiast of satisfying foods and Mr.LeBlanc is a spiritual guide for ancient and unbound, wandering souls.


14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

What does it mean when we talk about the unsearchable riches of void?
That nothing can be sought from nothing? That there is no wealth in death’s dream kingdom? That the destination is unknowable?
Or that only in not seeking shall we find?
You will know the truth on both sides of your head when you encounter the unsearchable riches of Void.

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